Yakima Fire Department says arsonist to blame for three separate fires
YAKIMA, Wash.-- “I was in shock. I just didn't know what to expect when I got here,” said Hilda Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is the manager of Mariscos El Nayarita, a Mexican restaurant on Fruitvale Boulevard and 6th Avenue.
Sunday morning, firefighters say someone set fire to the outside of the restaurant.
The fire spread into the ceiling and worked its way inside.
Rodriguez says she thinks she'll be out of business for eight to nine months, leaving many of her employees, jobless.
“We had eight employees and it’s gonna affect them. Paying their rent, their bills. This was their source of income, and just to call them up one day and tell them, 'Hey, you're not coming to work,' it's really hard,” said Rodriguez.
The fire department says Rodriguez's restaurant had about $50,000 worth of damage done, but it wasn't the only building set on fire.
Firefighters say two abandoned homes, both also on 6th Avenue, were found burning at the same time.
Richard Leaverton maintains the apartments across the street from one of the homes, and he says this isn't the first time the home has seen flames.
“It had some people who were staying there, probably was doing drugs, and then it caught on fire; and then it caught on fire a few months ago in the basement, and it caught that apartment complex next to it on fire, cause they had to rebuild, and I guess it caught on fire again, yesterday,” said Leaverton.
The fire department says the two homes have a history of being intentionally set on fire in the winter.
They say the homes have no value and are set to be demolished. Rodriguez says she has a message for whoever caused all this chaos.
“He ruined everything. The food for these kids. Their parents make money to pay the rent, pay the bills, and he just ruined everything, you know. Just didn't care. Didn't think about anything,” said Rodriguez.